Thank you for your cool, accurate appraisal of the Santee thing (SI, Feb. 27,
March 5 & 12). Too much sentimentality, primarily on the part of
journalistic sensationalists, has been wafted about over the matter. Again,
thanks for printing the facts.
STEVE AND DOUG STONE
A VOICE FROM THE
Thanks for your coverage of the Knights of Columbus mile races (SI, March 12).
I was one of the very few in the Garden that Saturday who did not go into wild
cheering when Santee came on the scene. To me Santee is not now, never has been
and never will be the runner he thinks he is. I saw him run in the California
meets of last spring, and a more conceited person I have never seen in the
world of sports.
I loudly cheered
Delany but I am afraid my voice was a bit drowned out by the booing. Once more,
thank you for at least giving a report on the other side of the fence.
The amateur angle in our athletics is getting weirder all the time. The trouble
is, we are trying to compromise and it can't be done. You are either an amateur
athlete or you are not. Apparently the only spot on the globe where the
simon-pure amateur exists is in the British Isles. You may not accept even 10�
for expense money and still be an amateur.
Why not coin a
word and call it semi-amateur athletics? A person who is given expense money to
participate in a track meet is not, strictly speaking, an amateur; he is not a
pro either, because he ostensibly does not make a living by it. He is in
between, a semi-amateur.
We now have
semi-amateur athletes. The AAU should recognize them as such. If they did, all
this controversy about expense money would end, and so would all the hullabaloo
about amateur athletics. The Olympics Committee also should certainly recognize
the semi-amateur status. They would be foolish not to. The Russians are most
assuredly using the semi-amateur status and are getting publicity and prestige
by their successes in the Winter Olympics.
KENNETH R. PYATT
As an ex-college athlete I am much interested in the current dispute between
Mr. Santee and the Amateur Athletic Union.
Because the AAU
allows payment of perfectly legitimate expenses to athletes competing in
sponsored meets, it has gotten itself into two highly uncomfortable hassles.
First, by allowing an athletic event to be run by a business organization (the
sponsor of the meet), the AAU is in the entertainment and merchandising
business. Secondly, by allowing expenses, it has been forced to state, in
effect, that all athletes are equal but some are more equal than others. In
other words, the stars that pull in the crowds are entitled to more expenses
than the little guys who provide the backdrop. How much more expenses is not in
the hands of the AAU, but is up to the old law of demand and supply, which
certainly has nothing to do with amateur athletics. There is only one Wes
Santee, and as long as the AAU allows payments and allows outsiders to run
their meets the one and only Wes Santee is worth a lot of money to the
promoters, and everyone knows it.
If we believe in
the concept of amateur sports, and it seems to me that the country by and large
still does, then very plainly we must have an organization that not only lays
down the rules but also schedules the events, hires a stadium for them,
transports, feeds and houses the competing athletes, supervises the events and
sends the boys home again. This the AAU does not do: the AAU is the keeper of
the flame of amateurism but leaves the dirty work of organizing athletic events
to people who have no interest in, respect for and understanding of its sacred
I suggest that
from now on the AAU allows only its own officials to promote meets, pays
competing athletes reasonable expenses from the proceeds and allows no one else
to meddle in its business.